With more than 1.5 million cars coming from car plants in the United Kingdom last year, it was the highest number of vehicle produced in Britain since 2007 with a car being produced every 20 seconds. This does however come on the back of the news that car exports fell meaning that most of this growth was fuelled by domestic demand as British consumers once again feel confident in the economy. Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said of these figures:
“Placed in context, a 1.2% growth in UK car manufacturing in 2014 represents a very successful year. The industry has overcome various challenges, including slower than expected EU recovery and weakness in some global markets.”
With the popularity of premium and sports brands growing globally, brand such as Jaguar Land Rover saw a considerable growth in sales, with 449,507 vehicles produced at Jaguar Land Rover’s plants in Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull, and the overall value of car exports has doubled between 2005 and 2014. As such more than £7 billion of investment into UK production facilities had been announced in the past two years.
It was not just the luxury brands that saw considerable rises though as the biggest UK based producer was Nissan’s factory in Sunderland which saw 500,238 cars built over the year. Other big producers included the Mini site at Cowley, Oxford where 178,993 cars came off the production line, 172,215 Toyata’s came out of Burnaston, Derby, 121,799 cars were made for Honda at Swindon and 77,836 by Vauxhall at Ellesmere Port.
The British government has championed the car manufacturing industry as one of the driving factors in the country’s economic recovery and this can be seen across the country with places like Halewood, on Merseyside delivering production of the new Jaguar Land Rover Discovery Sport where £200m of investment has been ploughed into the factory and employment has tripled over the past few years.
Despite overall production being up across the country, the 1.5 million units produced was lower than the figure that had been forecast for the year as the Eurozone struggled with its economic recovery and Russia has been hit by European sanctions, thus affecting two major export markets. Things are however expected to once again pick up this year as new models are being produced by assembly lines at Nissan, Mini and Jaguar Land Rover. The SMMT expects the all-time car production record for the UK, set in the 1970s, to be exceeded by 2017.
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